Changing the pace on a running Open edX course

There are two types of course that you can run on Open edX:

  • Instructor-paced courses have a set start date and end date. They're designed to be highly interactive, with learners advancing through the course at roughly the same pace.
  • Self-paced courses have no fixed start/end date. They're designed for learners to jump in at any time at their convenience, and removes options for things like content due dates and staggered section release dates.

By default, all courses you create will be Instructor-paced, and you can change your course to Self-paced by simply following the steps in our article Setting Open edX courses to self-paced.

But there's a problem! When a course has already started, you can't change the pace. The option is disabled. So how do we resolve this? It's actually fairly simple, though you may want to do it at a time where you don't think learners will be studying your course, as it will cause a momentary blip in their access.

First, in Studio, enter your course and navigate to Schedule & Details in the Settings menu.

Once in Schedule & Details, you'll see down under Course Pacing that the course pace cannot be changed once the course has started.

To rectify this, we essentially just have to trick the platform into thinking that the course has not started yet. We do this by scrolling back up to the top of this page and setting the Course Start Date to the future by simply changing the date to a random future year. This date does not matter beyond the next 30 seconds, so don't overthink it. If your course has an end date, however, you may need to set a different date here, as the course can't end before it starts. Make sure you make note of the actual start date you want to use, however, as we'll be putting it back later.

Once you've set the date, you'll need to hit save, and this is where you need to act quickly. While this date is set, it will prevent learners from accessing your course, so don't delay after hitting Save Changes!

Now the date is set, you can scroll down to change your Course Pacing to the desired setting, and before we save we can go back to setting the Course Start Date to its original value.

As always, don't forget to Save Changes! After you save, your course will be back to normal, except this time, it's the pacing you meant to use the first time around.